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Zimbabwe’s best – Kapenta with Sadza

Have you ever eaten Kapenta with Sadza? If you have ever visited Zimbabwe and you missed eating this dish, you have not lived.

Eating Zimbabwe’s best dish is one of the best things that can happen to you on holiday. Many tourists who have visited Zimbabwe love Sadza with Kapenta and some even learn how to make it.

They say that music is the food of love, if you have not eaten Kapenta with Sadza; you have not fully known the love of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe locals often pronounce this meal as ‘matemba’. It is a beautiful dish made of fish and eaten in many regions of Africa as well as in the countries Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The two countries mentioned above have large fisheries and harvest all kinds of fish in the nearby Lake Kariba.


Kapenta with Sadza-The Best of Zimbabwe

Tourists and visits to Zimbabwe are always excited to eat Kapenta with Sadza; it is the highlight of their mealtimes.

Kapenta with Sadza is a pile of crisp-fried kapenta. It comprises two different species of small freshwater fish. These fish are native to Lake Tanganyika.

It was artificially introduced to Lake Kariba. They are a much-loved source of protein to the people who live in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Like many dishes, the kapenta is accompanied by other delicious meals such as maize porridge. The maize porridge is the Sadza. Kapenta is available as a dried and fresh meal. It is stewed using tomatoes, onions, groundnut powder and it is served with fresh greens.

Kapenta with Sadza-Zimbabwe and its favourite dish

Often children as young as 6 months start eating sadza as one of their first meals when they are being weaned from breast milk. Some babies eat sadza earlier than 6 months.

The young and old eat sadza for lunch or dinner with different accompaniments. You can eat it with pap, vegetables, or beef stew.

Sadza is easy to make and even easier to make. If you can boil water, and stir the flour, you are more than 50 percent sure that you will enjoy cooking and eating sadza.

Kapenta with Sadza-How to eat this traditional dish

This traditional Zimbabwean dish is highly revered. It is practically forbidden to eat this dish with a knife and fork. Kapenta is eaten traditionally. The readily accepted way to eat this dish is by scooping up the Sadza with your hands and dipping it in or rolling in the accompanying fish and delightful substitutes.

The only other meal that comes a close second to the Kapenta is the fresh bream or tilapia from Lake Kariba. This is grilled or fried with plenty of lemon butter. It is also very tasty.

Kapenta with Sadza-Healthy Dishes

Kapenta is a very healthy dish that is rich in protein. What with the fish and the cornmeal.

One of the first things that you do before you begin cooking the kapenta is the act of drying your fish in the sun. You can also place the fish on a rock in the sun for the day when the sun is shining.

Once the fish dries in the sun, its preservation quotient has increased. It can last for long periods without refrigeration. This is a huge source of protein to the locals. The Kapenta is also a common ingredient in the meals that Zimbabweans and Zambians eat. The stewed Kapenta recipe is the essence of the type of traditional cuisine eating in Zimbabwe.

Serving the dish with other substitutes Credit: YouTube

Kapenta with Sadza-How to serve the dish

Kapenta is often served with Sadza. Sadza is made of ground maize. Kapenta can also be served with stew and rice. It can be served with leafy veggies. For this article, the Sadza is served with kapenta.

One meal can serve four people. Sadza with kapenta is a delicious and nutritious dish that is enjoyed by the Zimbabwean people. Tourists also enjoy eating sadza and kapenta. It has an exotic taste and is very attractive to the eye.


Kapenta with Sadza-Ingredients

One lb of dried Kapenta fish

One large onion

One large tomato

Four cloves of garlic

One-teaspoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste


Kapenta with Sadza-Instructions

  • Prepare a large pot of boiling water, and put in the pre-dried kapenta. Then boil it for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the kapenta, pat to dry, and chop into trim chunks in preparation for frying
  • Chop the onions and garlic finely. Add to a hot frying pan with olive oil in it. Then cook until it is brown all over.
  • Chop the tomatoes delicately and add to the pan. Add salt, pepper, groundnut powder. Then add half a cup of water.
  • Add the boiled Kapenta to the pan; immerse the kapenta in the sauce. Then cover the pan and leave everything to simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
  • Keep stirring the ingredients in the mix all through the slow boil.
  • Remove the fish from the heat. Leave it to rest for 2 minutes and allow the sauce to thicken.
  • Your stewed Kapenta is ready to eat, serve with sadza or boiled rice.

Kapenta with Sadza-The process of making Sadza

Sadza Preparation Credit: team.org

Sadza is not a stand-alone dish. It is often accompanied by a dish such as Kapenta. This part of the article is for teaching us how to make Sadza.


  • 6 large scoops mealie-meal
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 75 cl boiling water


  • Put mealie-meal in the pot. Add cold water and make a paste with the mealie-meal flour.
  • Put a pot on the burner and add boiling water. Continue stirring the paste in the pot on the burner concurrently.
  • Keep stirring paste until it is boiling. Then cover the pot, reduce the heat and let it smolder for 15 minutes.
  • Open the pot and add some more mealie-meal, little by little. When it is about to get to the texture you prefer (soft or hard), stop and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Your sadza is ready and you can serve with your kapenta dish.

Also read: Top seven historical landmarks in Seychelles

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